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Complex and disturbing anti-Japanese propaganda film produced to spur the sale of U.S. war bonds. CONTENT ADVISORY: Explicit racism and extreme violence.
This movie is part of the collection: Prelinger Archives
Producer: U.S. Treasury Department
Sponsor: U.S. Treasury Department, War Finance Division
Audio/Visual: Sd, B&W
Keywords: World War II: Japan; Propaganda; World War II: Homefront
Creative Commons license: Public Domain
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Subject: We were at WAR!
Those of you (Morpheus et al) who are "appalled" or "shocked" at this need to remember that we were at war with an empire that had every intention of destroying us & our way of life. War isn't nice, you don't worry about your enemy's feelings, or their sensibilities. Really, get over yourself & remember the time & context in which this was made.
Subject: Good propaganda film, we were at war.
Morpheus et. al. : Get over it. Read history and stop with the knee-jerk BS. Just because it was "propaganda" doesn't mean it wasn't mostly factual. About our attitudes and theirs.
Vance Capley -
Subject: Fantastic window into American history...
Yes it's propaganda, but it was the times and this is a fantastic window into America's WW2 past
Subject: Both sides guilty
Wikipedia "Japanese war crimes" and read all of it. Consider had bad Japan was. You are already very much aware of U.S. war crimes against the Japanese-- how we tortured, killed, etc. AND dropped the bomb and did relocation camps. So...-what?- -what's that you say?!- We didn't equal the Japanese in the torture-area? Oh, OK. We just dropped the bomb and did relocation? Not exactly? Oh, sounds like a complicated comparison. Maybe, "Both side guilty" describe the situation, then?
Subject: bad film
Subject: Sociological Document
Thanks to Prelinger and the Archive for preserving this window into the American mindset during this unparalleled fight to the death. It's difficult to watch, but it was a difficult time to go through.
Subject: my japan sells war bonds
This is simply an effort to sell war bonds.,use ing captured footage to make a point the usa needs money for the war effort. But it makes the japanese look like a yellow horde attempting take over the world like in countless movies and books. preying on the public's fear.
Subject: I feel sorry for anyone who buys into this garbage..
While I would perhaps, in some sense, agree with the rightwing nut-jobs that have already commented that dropping the bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima were plenty justified, specifically, to end the war and ultimately bring about peace, albeit an intensely uneasy peace; the intense hatred that this short film was obviously meant to increase, set fire to, and instill in the viewing audience of the day itself permeates with an intense bigotry that anyone with a working brain can not deny!
This film is not a cognitive & freethinking being, with it's own thoughts, opinions, and ideology/ies. But, it is very much a representative of the hatred that it spews forth... It in principle is the exact same thing as the confederate flag! How anyone can believe, and furthermore express, some developmentally stunted, politically and socially ignorant, bloated and putrid bag of hot air is something that never ceases to amaze me...
Those that say that this film is not racist express their own form of racism as they defend this piece of pro-racist, pro-xenophobic, propaganda. I can perhaps not recommend highly enough that anyone with such a point of view do a gut check on their sense of right and wrong. If you find that you have none, or if you find that it is so warped that it is beyond redemption, then it is unfortunately apparent that you should cut off and/or out your sexual organs so that you will not contaminate the rest of the human race; it just IS the right thing to do!
And for cryin' out loud, do it right, use a chainsaw!!
Okii onara -
Subject: A lesser known historical sidebar
Many of the reviewers of "My Japan" have alluded to the two nuclear attacks as the defining cause of Japan's surrender. Perhaps so, historians differ, but the American planners of the final invasion, "Operation Downfall," plotted without the surety of knowing if the bombs would actually work as hoped.
Concurrently, the Japanese counter-invasion plan, "Operation Ketsugo," called for an organized homeland army of seven million, supported by as many as twelve million partially trained but equally impassioned civilian milita forces. Of these almost twenty million Japanese, four million were positioned in well prepared defensive positions within sixty miles of the selected invasion beaches of southern Kyushu. All in all, a fearsome force.
American casuality estimates covering the initial invasion and one month thereafter ranged from a little less than 200,000 to a high of one million with the accepted consensus being approximately 600,000. Fatality estimates were placed at twenty percent of all of these totals.
Without assurance of nuclear success, what new weapon might the Americans employ to oversome the expected scope of Japanese defense? The answer, certainly never well advertised, lie in chemical agents. Quite obviously, in mid 1945 the 1916-1917 agony of gas warfare at Passchendale and Ypres remained a hideous memory to the populations of all the Allied nations. Nevertheless, in secrecy accelerated production of VX, Serin and other nerve agents commenced and a vast inventory of the less deadly sulfur mustard gases was readied for deployment.
The unexpected end of hostilities posed a significant disposal problem for these chemical agents. An immediate destruction effort was complicated by the onset of the Cold War which suggested there may ultimately be a new enemy for their use. The bombs, miles, shells and rockets containing the gaseous horrors went into protected bunkers on far off Johnston Island and several remote rural sites in the United States.
Perhaps we have seen the light. Through treaty with Russia, successor to the Soviet Union, massive and mutual chemical agent disposal programs started in the first decade of the 21st Century. This week as I drove serenely along I-84 on the shore of the mighty Columbia River from small Hermiston, Oregon toward Portland I once again viewed the hundreds upon hundreds of turf-covered, low-lying dark bunkers buried in the grounds of the Umatilla Army Depot.
If we can believe the forecasts of the US Army Corps of Engineers and the firm with the federal contract for the destruction work, all of the most lethal nerve agents have been destroyed and weapons containing the sulfur mustard compounds are due for total descruction by 2014. So far no leaks, no deaths and no major labor injuries. Similar claims are made for the Russian stockpiles.
A touch of local gallows humor in far eastern Oregon is that that location represents the purest form of democratic freedom of choice. One can select his/her preference ... asphyxiation from the gases at Umatilla or radiation from the residual ground leaching of plutonium at the decommissioned nuclear production complex at Hanford, Washington, twenty miles north.
Onward and upward!
Subject: Gullible and so lead astray!!!
I cant believe in this day and age so many Americans still fall for the propaganda you are fed each and every day....pearl harbour was a set up, to sway public opinion to enter the war....its common knowledge that the USA was selling arms to the nazi's and the allies at the same time...and still the mighty $$ is the cause of US foreign policy. I would imagine the 'supreme' nation of America could long predict enemy approaching...just as they could see planes flying off course long before a crash. it amazes me how a 'primitive ' middle easterner could hide in a cave in Afghanistan when USA can look up everyone elses ass from space.
Subject: ....What A Phony....
....Piece Of Crap...Narrator Is Not Japanese..Peter Lorre Was'nt Mr. Moto..Either...Another Lame Government Film..Wake Up..Fools..
This has got to be the best thing evar cos it like wargasmic
add me on msn email@example.com
Subject: My Japan
This is an interesting period piece. It was apparently made in the late spring/early summer of 1945 to prepare Americans for the anticipated
invasion of the Japanese home islands, which was scheduled for November, 1945. One gathers that the script writers reflected government concern that American war fervor might be waning in the wake of Germany's surrender and the devastation
of Japanese cities. The message: the invasion of Japan proper will be a bloody affair, so be ready. It will be like 1000 Iwo Jimas. This fear
is what underlay the decision to drop the atom bombs. It is not hard to understand why.
What's also interesting are the posts. Looks like every right-wing yahoo with a tin foil hat has weighed in.
Subject: My Japan - The Truth You Do Not Want To Face!
I have to laugh at you Liberal Pinheads who moan and weep over the supposed "racism" of this movie. Pathetic.
Fat Man and Little Boy solved the "Japanese Problem" outlined in this War Bonds Drive Film. There was NO other way to deal with a Demonic and Sadistic Enemy.
While the narrator is a tad corny - the Religoious and Political extremism portrayed in this movie is EXACTLY what the Japanese felt in their hearts. They were SERIOUS about what they fought for.
The Japanese felt that their Emperor was DIVINE and the only true "Son of Heaven" - a sort of God Man. They felt it their honor bound duty to bring by FORCE all of the "inferior races" of the world into total subjection to the "Son of Heaven".
We are facing the same thing today with Radical Islamic Fascism. Like the Japanese of WW2 the Islamic Sadists will DIE to bring about a world Islamic State. They are NOT afraid to die to bring about their world view into existence.
Unfortunately we lack the Testicular Fortitude of our Great Grandparents who dealt with the Japanese in the only means that was effective. It is too bad that our Kenyan President of the USA lacks the guts to NUKE Mecca and Medina.
Subject: realistic and disturbing
The fighting in Okinawa, Saipan, the Phillipines and Iwo Jima was of such a marked savagery that concerned civilian and military leaders the American people should be forewarned of the expected carnage what might have an invasion of the home islands of the Empire of Japan.
Subject: I agree, this is a good movie
I'm writing a thesis on American racism towards Japan but this movie doesn't really fit. The aim of this movie is really just to show how serious the Japanese were about war and the extent of their modernization, and to extinguish racist American "dreaming" of a medieval country with "stupid little savages". The caricature who narrates the film is a little silly but not substantive.
Bizr Pix -
Subject: Tokyo Roy
Wow. Where to start?
Until 'My Japan', I had never seen an American WWII propaganda film that took this type of approach to shake up the audience. Its clever use of selected footage while listening to the "Japanese" narrator's "Japanese" point of view was designed to promote hatred, boost American enlistment, validate bombing in Japan and increase war funding in one fell swoop.
Then I started reading the posts. While I wasn't shocked as to the volume of posts, I was appalled to see the apparent animosity that a 40s piece was still able to effectively bring to the surface. I observed that the majority of the posters were more interested in berating one another than contributing something pertaining to this film, turning it into a political shouting match. Worse still, I'm not sure some viewers knew the Japanese monologue in 'My Japan' was written by Americans. Pretty sad stuff indeed. Almost as sad as Japanese guy's accent. Apparently he didn't pass YellowFace 101. Didn't he know he was supposed to substitute R's for L's and vice versa instead of using W's? "Kill the Amewicans, Kill the Amewicans..."
I would be interested in knowing how many theaters showed this particular WWII short, and what reaction(s) it provoked.
Subject: It's amazing...
how many people watching this don't GET it.
This movie used captured footage from Japan, including pictures of dead babies, massacred prisoners (including one picture that has a decapitated head!), and American POWs who were relentlessly tortured, maimed and killed.
The only thing about this that was remotely cheesy was the Japanese commentator's makeup; the accent could've sounded a bit less Charlie Chan-ish, too.
But it's like a free for all otherwise, this stupid notion that this film is "racist." WHAT is racist about it??
We were at WAR with Japan after Pearl Harbor. The projections of how many americans and japanese civilians would have to die if we island-hopped over YEARS to the Japanese mainland were staggering. Any of these people remotely familiar with the rape of Nanking? The Bataan Death March?
The dopes who think this movie is "racist" are absolutely ignorant of the Japan of the Emperor. They made Islamic terrorists look almost reasonable!
I give the movie five stars for the Japan footage and for how well it put forward its positions that were based in FACT. The vast majority of the info for this movie (which, btw, was a War Bond fundraiser) were TRUE.
There is no other conclusion one could draw, unless one is hopelessly ignorant, or pushing a very predictable political agenda.
Subject: In rgards to the A-bomb...
...was there not rhetoric coming from Japan that said that every man, woman, and child would fight any invasion force? They asserted that these Japanese citizens would be fighting from each and every home, working to kill any enemy army. Therefore, all citizens of Japan were treated as combatants, based on explicit threats from the Japanese government.
You can't use rhetoric as Japan did and then claim foul when these women and children are dragged into the fighting.
see_thats what i mean -
Subject: ah i get it now
the strongest country in the world? not too sure about that.
i must admit though, it takes some guts to fly ten billion foot up in the air and drop an A-Bomb on a bunch of children.
the dumbest? now there's a thought.
Subject: Sure thing yapooza
Except Japan regarding the invasion and occupation of China or the Soviets regarding the same of Eastern Europe. I'm not even American and your historical blindness and obvious hatred of the United States insults even me.
Subject: "They want Peace? But then we dont get to try these babys out..."
No amount of wordplay or statistic juggling can ever justify the atrocities commited by the US in the bombing of civillians and children.
Atrocities were being commited all over the globe during this period, yes war is barbaric.
However nobody has the audacity or sheer inhumanity to even attempt defending such events except the blind nationalists of America.
They parrot statistics and talk of hypothetical lives saved as a result of dropping the atomic bombs. Of course any normal person finds such self-righteous justification to be disgusting, immoral and quite pychopathic in nature.
Remember, soldiers sign up to fight and to die for their countries, unarmed women and children do not.
I watched this film and one theme kept resonating in my mind. This short was obviously intended to increase the resolve of the American public for further casualties, and perhaps buy a war bond to boot. How strong is American resolve for war today? Apparently, some amping up of our resolve was necessary for WWII but I'm very concerned for our will to fight in the MTV generation. Vietnam obviously weakened our taste for war, to the point where Saddam Hussein was willing to take us on in Gulf War I because he truly believed the US public had no will to fight (he was quoted saying that). After the Iraqi War bogged down, as is the wont generally with complete takeover of any country larger than Grenada, it was simply stunning how quickly many in the American public wanted out (thus proving Saddam's instincts right, albeit he was off on the timing). It appears, unlike the old days, our attention span for war is all too brief. I found the "Japanese" narrator's comments on American softness more relevant today than when this film was made.
Subject: Preparation for Operation Downfall
The more I watch of this the more I think that is was done more to prepare the public for the causalities of Operation Downfall than to sale bonds despite the fact that it was made by the Treasury.
Many have called the film racist but compared to some of Capra's work (especially Know Your Enemy-Japan) it is surprisingly even handed. It shows the planned invasion of Japan (Operation Downfall) is not going to be easy.
It compares the Japanese people to the English in that destroying the capital did not kill the country. There is even a scene showing kids training to be soldiers-echoing Hitler's use of 12 year old boys in defense of Berlin. It even talks about the US not willing to pay what it will cost in lives to win the war.
No, the more you view this film the more it becomes obvious that this was intended to prepare the US public for the huge causality rates (1 million on the US side alone) that were expected.
Subject: What is disturbing about this short?
I've lived in Japan for 15 years, and much of what this story says is true even today. Of course you have to update it, but the points expressed, that Japan is not weak, and that Japan is not made of paper and fragile, and that Japan is not going to just lay down and die are all correct.
The point of the short was to show that Japan is stronger than most Americans and her allies were thinking at that time. Is Japan not a global power economically and militarily? Japan has the largest military in Asia, yes, including China and Korea.
Don't give in to the easy and tempting trap of calling old films propaganda. Compared with the MTV/Moore/Gore stuff that calls itself documentary, these government shorts are flawless!
BTW, not a month goes by when nationalist black trucks w/ rising sun flags and loudspeakers and imperial uniformed men aren't making a day-long protest at Tokyo or Shinjuku station.
It is no coincidence that the rest of Asia feels no anger toward the U.S. and use of the atomic bomb. It is no coinicidence that each year as Japan mourns its dead in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that the rest of Asia does not drown out the crying with cries of anger toward Japan. (the western press never reports that part, of course.)
If those who label this as untrue are serious they need to study history A LOT more, and that goes for whoever wrote the caption. Study Bataan where Japanese soldiers practiced katana skills on prisoners for fun, Study Okinawa, where Japanese civilians were forced to commit suicide or face the bayonette of the Japanese military. Study Harbin where Chinese civilians were experimented on, limbs amputated and sewn back on different people or in different places, where animal limbs were sewn on to replace their own, where humans stripped naked and hosed down w/ cold water in sub zero weather then watched as their own limbs, frozen solid, were shattered like glass when 'doctors' struck them with hammers. Study Nanjing, where tens of thousands were 'recruited' to serve as prostitutes, slaves, targets, biological guinnea pigs, Study the Comfort Women of Korea, of China, of Singapore, of the Phillipines, Study how even to this day, November 2, 2007, the more than 10, 000 korean slaves held in Hiroshima who were also killed along with the Japanese are not permitted to have their names listed along with Japanese dead. In fact, no mention of them is permitted within the city limits.
How disturbing is this short now?
Most of the people who whine and pontificate constantly about how evil the United States is do so only because they erroneously believe that it gives them a sense of omnipotence and a measure of self righteousness. And of course, it is fashionable to do so...
None of the silly, half-baked horse hockey like Adhish puts forth in his post can be substantiated in any way, shape or form. At best, it is nothing more than obtuse opinion that is anchored in a psychological longing to be recognized as an authority on something... anything - a "guru" complex. I would suggest that before anyone gets tempted to write such bilge that they first obtain concrete evidence to back up their views... not third-hand hearsay they picked up from MTV or Britney Spears.
The world is what it is. You can lie on your back and kick your feet, scream and cry like a baby and human nature will never change. Those of you who think they are the high voice of right and reason when they talk conspiracy theory and other anti U.S. crap don't realize how cheap words are. Back up your gripes with genuine evidence... and if you can prove your case, have the courage of your convictions and follow it up with REAL action... or keep your teeth closed.
This movie served it's purpose when it was made and there is nothing that can be done about.
This film is so blatantly telling the public how they should be thinking that it's hilarious! And it's sad when compared to the spoon fed messages were now getting for half the world - muslims, jews, Cuba, Venezuela, Mexicans, on and on and on... Haven't we learned anything?
Subject: StunnedandAmazed... your narrow-mindedness is appalling...
Actually, AlexJonesLemming is quite astute about the war.
The Japanese did indeed agree BEFORE the a-bombs were dropping to surrender... on the condition that they could keep their emperor.
The emperor himself was their god, but still just a figurehead. But the U.S. wanted an UNCONDITIONAL surrender... How much would it have cost the U.S. to agree? Not much... in fact, it would have saved them 2 a-bombs and a lot of lives.
The a-bomb was indeed dropped as a means of intimidating the Soviet Union. Truman had just come in as president, and, uninformed about Roosevelt's ongoing funding to the development of the a-bomb, had to be quickly briefed on the project and the implications of its use. Thus, when it came to crunch time, there were several options: demonstrate the bomb to the Japanese in America or in the jungles of Japan, warn the Japanese before using it, attack only military bases, attack civilian centers, use both bombs, use one bomb, etc. Eventually, Truman (the uneducated hick he was) decided to use it. And it did indeed intimidate the Soviet Union. They started to work frantically on developing their own shortly afterwards.
And remember Potsdam, where Truman had just been informed of the success of Trinity? He was bragging to Stalin about it. If that's not intimidation, I don't know what is.
Why wouldn't American industrialists finance Nazis? If they support the enemy secretly, the U.S. has more need to join the war, and the eventual effect is heavy reliance on American industry in the war effort.
But Rockefeller actually supported Nazis because of their euthanasia/sterilization of the elderly campaign.
I haven't heard about the last point, about U.S. leaders knowing about Pearl Harbor before it happened, but it sounds very likely. The U.S. needed an excuse to break out of its isolationist shell and Pearl Harbor was the perfect excuse. After all, wars stimulate rapid industrial growth, as well as medical growth. Penicillin was used copiously during the war, and promoted more research and eventually nobel-prize winning discoveries and inventions related to it.
StunnedandAmazed, you illustrate your obvious lack of knowledge of historiography when you cite simply one source for all of your conservative beliefs, and demonstrate how you allow yourself to be indoctrinated by a single viewpoint. You treat books as propaganda yourself, ironically enough.
All of the facts that AlexJonesLemming stated are compiled from various sources, National Archives, several primary sources and secondary sources, data, declassified CIA documents, etc. In other words, a wide variety of sources.
Subject: Racism in WWII
If you look at the most brutal, inhuman aspects of WWII, I do not see anyone can help but recognize how huge a factor racism was in making it that way. We viewed Japanese as an inferior race in which everyone wore glasses as thick as coke bottle bottoms, had buck teeth, technically inept etc. etc.
The Japanese on the other hand felt the were superior to all other races, after all they were the only people on the planet who had a living deity for a ruler.
The Japanese military actually made a conscious decision indoctrinate their troops in this way as a way after WWI. During their military expansion between the wars they saw this as the best way to maintain the very highest level of discipline and obedience. There was the Emperor, then their officers, then their NCOs then the enlisted men. It was not at all unusual for an NCO to beat an enlisted man viciously for even very minor infractions. All Non-Japanese persons were lower in the pecking order than the average Japanese soldier, so they felt perfectly justified do what ever they wanted to with them without a thought of remorse.
The same level of racial hatred existed on the eastern front in Europe as well.
There is no doubt that we backed Japan in a corner with our embargo of oil and steel. They did not even have the resources to run a peace time economy, much less feed a massive war machine, but we were not willing to accept their occupation of China and Manchuria, and they felt like we were trying to deny the right of Asians to govern Asia.
It still amazes me though; 62 years after the war ended how we can all look at, and study the history of that conflict and come up with so many different conclusions to the whys and wherefores of what took place and where is right and wrong?
I have a book to recommend to any of you who would care to read it. It’s called Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire by Richard B. Frank. It’s an analysis of the last 6 month of the Pacific war.
As for me, my opinion is that if we had not dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki there would not be much of a Japanese people left. If the US had had to invade Japan and fight the type of battles that we fought on Peleliu, Iwo Jima and Okinawa there would have been wholesale slaughter of the Japanese people and the ones that were not killed by US weapons would have most likely fallen victim to the starvation.
I highly recommend this book to you especially AlexJonesLemming. I have no idea where you got your facts, but I doubt any of it would hold up to scrutiny.
Subject: We never learn...
The reasons behind Japan's expansion include the country's insatiable appetite for natural resources including steel & petroleom products due to it's massive industrialization. While it's methods may have been wrong, the fuse was lit with the U.S.'s embargo of the items mentioned above. The inciderary bombings of Tokyo & Yokohama killed far more people than the Atomic Bombs & had a greater effect, much earlier. Of course, I'm only second hand info... My mom used to cremate bodies ( "colatteral damage" ) on the roadside with corrugated roofing in Yokohama. By the way, they don't burn, they're suffocated by the lack of Oxygen. Industrialization & insatiable appetite. Hmmm. Sounds like China... Wait, the US! We never learn.
Subject: "My Japan" needed for its time
Japan was a ruthless enemy during W.W.II. A film like this was needed to make American civilians aware of this. If the atomic bombs had not been dropped, probably 250,000 more American soldiers could have died as the war continued with Japan.
According to historic information I have researched, it was not that positive the Japanese were ready to surrender so quickly.
Tom Mulroney -
Subject: Very Interesting Piece of History
Very effective I am sure given the tenor of the times in which it was produced. It's easy to look back on it and see how over the top it is, but on the other hand, if one attempts to place oneself during those momentous, harrowing and pivotal times, it probably seemed very accurate and real as to how people were feeling. I for one am glad the war concluded as it did without the loss of God knows how many more American lives. Japan got what it asked for.
Subject: More History
Certainly the Japanese imperialists were capable of the same ruthlessness as any imperialists, including the USA.
But facts behind the war:
1. The Japanese WERE 90% thru negotiations for peace. They had had several cities scorched and only wanted to keep their symbolic Emperor. A *nearly* unconditional surrender. If totally unconditional was so important, they probably would have gone there ... no choice.
2. The A-bomb was dropped as a psyop against Russia, and like all wars, against ALL of us, against Americans too.
3. US Elite ruling class HEAVILY financed Hitler, to the point that the National Socialists would never have come to power without the help and direction of Rockefeller, et. al. This et. al. includes people like Allen Dulles, Under Sec of State at one point, NY investment attorney, and future CIA director. It also includes one of his partners, George Herbert Walker, and Walker's son-in-law Prescott Bush in the role of "go-fer" for a Nazi money-laundering operation.
4. US leaders ABSOLUTELY KNEW about the pending Japanese attack, down to the hour. This is not a Left Wing fantasy. As a matter of fact, I first heard it on a Libertarian talk show, PhilipDru, by a friendly Birchite, G. Edward Griffin.
Subject: The war against Japan from the US perspective
After seeing this movie, I agree that it is truly a masterpiece of propaganda for good and ill.
Most poeple will judge the film to be either racist/propagandist or the other extreme of absolutely correct in portrayal of the Japanese war machine. I am forced to agree that both sides are probably correct from my viewpoint.
The Japanese treated all the peoples that they conquered brutally (e.g. Rape of Nanking, comfort women, hideous biological experiments on prisoners of war and innocent civilians, and general rape, mutilation, humiliation and cannabilism). Most of this are documented by various organisations but ware generally ignored by Westerners. On the other hand, in order to fight such evil (at the time), usually the protagonist (in this case, the US) would have to resort to levels at least approaching that evil (internment camps/Japanese as subhumans: "...the Jap is a short myophic, buck-toothed runt...")
This sort of conduct perhaps was necessary to win the war but should not be looked upon as either savory or as an ideal. This film was like the war should perhaps be viewed as an necessary evil.
Subject: Interesting Snap-shot
As a graphic designer I found this film to be an interesting snap-shot of history and the way our government used marketing during WWII. A seemingly necessary campaign to sell war bonds regardless of the tactic. I will not go into an arguement on the politics of this film due to the time period it was produced, although some have tried to parallel 1945 with 2006. I will not.
What I thought was interesting was the white guy pretending to be a smarmy Japanese antagonist. Similar to the Tokyo Rose character the Japanese used to try and de-moralize our troops in the field. I thought the presentation was humorous.
Another point, off topic, that I would like to bring up is this:
Every post I read in this thread, posted by self-proclaimed mavens of intellect, consistently use the same, weak, ad homonym tactic by using words i.e., red state, redneck, hillbilly, neo-con, etc., to convey some kind of all-knowing superiority over those of us that do not fall within their political or ideological view.
Their talking points all seem to be parroted from one person to the other with no real original thought, offered solution, or useful information.
And these people profess to be "progressive?"
Food for thought.
Subject: Where would I begin...
I could sincerely write a decent sized book in response to this and the often times inane comments written here, but, where to begin?
Rather than make people cringe at posting such a long story, I'll try to make a few points only...
I'll preface this by making my position clear: I have no side, I have friend in both the US and Japan and would hold myself to be one of the few who is really non-partisan in this case.
1. This was propoganda and people have to see it for what it is. Its also made a long time ago! You'd think people would know this since its dated, but, from some of the comments I begin to wonder. Every body did this kind of stuff. The British made some equally bad stuff about Germans, and vice versa, in both WW's. [see also point 3]
2. World perceptions of Japan.
Nowadays we see Japan as a big economy. According to usual measures it was the second largest until Europe started calling itself a single economy and took 1st place from the US. Back then, despite all that had happened, most people including governments perceived Japan as no more threat than say Thailand or Fiji. I believe this was a very big problem for the American government of the day... hence this particular film. We often like to "bag" american governments for their failure to perceive or learn from history but, for once, they got it right, in that sense. Its interesting to note that earlier in 1904 another then "self proclimed" world leader made the same mistake. I'm not going to say who [see point 4] but, they thought they'd boost citizen morale by kicking ass on this "little pretender" only to get their own kicked instead. Suffice to say that within less than two decades those leaders were all gone and mostly executed [that might give it away].
3. The ultimate question about the nature of war.
This is the real question in fact and it is probably the explanation as to why most comments and indeed reviewers themselves appear polarized. Lets look at history again. Not that much earlier, in historical terms, European wars were fought to rules. I mean can you believe all these people lining up to fight as if it was a game, all waiting for the agreed time to start! At some point war took a change and peple realized that to lose meant more than just losing a fight. WWI introduced the masses to some appalling modern war things, not the least because it was so much in the new media. Anyway, to get to the point before I make this a min-essay... is anything justified in war since losing can mean losing more than just a bit of territory? If not, where DO we draw the line? AS I said before, I beleive this is what polarizes opinions and people.
4. For goodness sake people, if you dont have any hitorical knowledge, do some reading before posting knee-jerk reactions! It would also help to think first too! :) There are so many ridiculous comments here I would need pages to address them all.
5. Okay I'll try to stop with this one.
One of the worst errors on both sides is the conclusion that the acts of goverments, whoevers, reflects the acts, ideas, thoughts... etc of the people. With all the acces we have to knowledge nowadays which people then did not, you would think we would know better than to still believe that nonsense. For example, and this is just an example I'm not taking sides as it applies equally to all, the remarks about the Japanese PEOPLE are inane. Back then they had very little say in what was done for both reasons of law [fear of arrest] and perception [brainwashing by propoganda and limited access to knowledge]. Even today, the government there continues to edit history so most ordinary people dont even know a fraction of what we know about the historical events. Again I could do another essay on that one but I wont.
I better stop here or I'm gonna need a blog for this subject, haha!
Max Grody -
Subject: What great stuff...
If this was current, I would ask myself why I would be watching this, or what the point is.
But, as a look back, its totally fascinating.
Figures the dumb lib below would equate it to conservatism. They make anything into a political statement.
Though this guy is obviously an American, and probably white, it's a great play on the Japanese, and an actual view point of many non-Americans at the time. From what we portrayed abroad, most of the world thought Americans were sluggish, ignorant playboys, because those who visited abroad were rich boys with little drive. In the American backbone were the earnest, moral, hard working average Joe that rolled over on europe and Asia with the help of the American industrialist. We were then, as always, very under estimated. An understandable perception, though.
This film makes no pretense, it states what it is up front - a government film about how Japanese thought of us. And it was true. Just read histories about Japan in the war. Sure, not all thought it, but it was the public perception at the time. So while propaganda, it isn't that far off. I've seen far worse.
Subject: Sounds A Lot Like Conservative Americans Today
Isn't that the attitude of Con-Ams too, then and now? "We are sooo better than you. Everyone else is stupid & evil, but we're the good guys."
I think the dead babies, executions, headless torso shots mixed in with White American soldiers who lost limbs was especially effective. So was the "We live & dedicate our lives to kill Americans" crap. Our government today has painted the entire Middle-East as terrorists who live to kill Americans. Ain't it funny how some things never change?
For those who didn't quite catch the racism in this, what exactly were you hoping for? Racial slurs and such? I guess you were really disappointed then.
As a bleeding-heart liberal, I propose we round up all the cons, drop them off on a deserted island somewhere with boxes full of guns and bibles. We'll check back in a couple years to see if there are any survivors left.
Subject: Good footage. Bad reviews.
Excellent archive and footage. I don't understand why offhand the site considered it 'racist' or why that is even relevant to call out. The 'Japanese' narrator seemed more like poor acting to me, but that was the style of the day (poor acting that is). Also, why is it even important to call that out? It is an historical look at a war time film. Seems like too many people are trained like rats to worry about what is racist and what isn't. It is what it is and people will decide for themselves how they view it.
Subject: McCarthy Was Trash
He really should have been fried. I love it when these redneck hillbillies use the term 'bleeding heart liberal'. They apply it to anyone with half a brain that doesn't belive all the crap the administration tries to feed us with. These are the same clowns that actually brainwash their children into believing in god and jesus christ. I cannot imagine how people could be so damned stupid. Well, time to clean the barrel of my bleeding heart liberal .357
Subject: One of the better War Films - My Japan
Excellent for it's genre. I see some more critical reviews and wish to remind the viewer that this is/was total war. It was the Japanese in the unprovoked attack on the US. I see some Monday morning quarter-backing arguing against the use of cinema in this fashion. But there was no TV, FM radio, satelittes or internet. A message had to be conveyed and this was one way to do it. We have somehow, elevated, ourselves to be above a unified message or unified effort to win a war. This film is a throw-back, granted, but it should remind us that there is nothing wrong with despising an enemy. It is meant to portray the enemy in a bad light. We are not supposed to give them "equal time" to state their case. They are murderers and thugs. Enjoy the film for what it is/was. A great view on a ruthless enemy.
Subject: Beware Governments
Worst fake Japanese accent EVER!
Like this and many other propaganda films, the lesson to be learned here is that all government propaganda should be looked at as suspect. The Japanese government is guilty of duping its own people during WWII for the benefit of those in power. Even now the Japanese government is trying to suppress history by editing textbooks and striking historical records.
We Americans should consider this and look at our own government with equal skepticism.
This is why a free and independent press is essential to democracy and human rights. Someone needs to be able to watch over government action without fear of retribution or starvation. Support your independent news sources.
Subject: An interesting method of war propaganda
As a media studies student, I think this video was fascinating. It was a very broad departure from typical American WWII propaganda methods. I wonder how well it worked for the war bond effort?
A few things I would like to point out:
1. This was a great example ofgyellow-face.h Just as it was used in minstrelsy and blackface, a common tactic of Hollywood in the 40s and 50fs was to use white actors painted up and trained togsound Asian. This was done for many reasons, sometimes it was because many studios/crews/actors refused to work with minorities, or sometimes they were worried about the audience reaction. My question is, since this was claimed to begcaptured Japanese footageh and a realgview of what they think,h why didn't they use an actual Asian actor? There had to have been an Asian in America who disliked the Japanese and was willing to do it. It would have added a much deeper level of authenticity to drive the point home. Any thoughts on what their motivation to use a Caucasian actor might have been?
2. This is a departure from the common propaganda tactic of the time, including strategies still used today by the US and other countries. Usually the method isglook at these inhuman monsters, they savage and mindless.h This reel takes a very different strategy. It's more of a taunt than anything. To me it sounds likeglook how capable and ready we Japanese are. Just try and fight us.h I personally think they used this strategy because the goal was to sell war bonds and not recruit fighters. They needed to make the Japanese look perfectly capable to establish that we were not being thegpolice of the world,h but that the Japanese were fighting to win, and thus the public needs to buy war bonds to counter. Anyone else have any ideas about why they took this route?
3. On the subject of making Japan look perfectly capable, they also made the country itself look perfectly functional and civilized (at least domestically.) Especially in anti-German propaganda, the imagery usually made the enemy country look like an establishing shot of George Orwellfs 1984. Japan was under an authoritarian government at the time, but they didnft really depict the nation as internally very bad, or at least not as bad as the Germans. Why do you suppose that is?
These are what caught my attention. I'm not even going to touch on who did what then or now. My interests are purely in the how and why of media and propaganda. This piece is very atypical for the time, both in propaganda method and a little bit in its production. I highly recommend this to anyone who has an interest in American propaganda.
What's up with the warning about this film? This is history, like it or not, not some KKK recruiting film. Let us not forget who created this film, along with many more during WWII - yes its those bleeding heart liberals in HOLLYWOOD. The same ones that McCarthy went after in the 50's, and who many liberals hold up as icons of public morality even to this day. I think its time to WAKE UP people. Even during WWII, people didn't believe all this muck, it was entertainment played before and after a feature film. NO ONE is as blind as you think they are ... we are not sheep out here!!!!
Subject: Not as good as I thought it would be
I honestly found this film to be repetitive and boring. It wasn't as good as I expected it would be- but see it for yourself, you may enjoy it...
Subject: Hardly Racist
I thought this was a very interesting film. It takes a huge departure from the typical anti-Japanese propaganda, depicting the "Japs" or "Nips" as buck toothed and spectacle clad. The narrator instantly dismisses this notion.
In fact, I have trouble seeing how this is called racist at all. Keep in mind a couple of things. First, the government's motivation to appeal to the public so was a genuine fear and appal of the Japanese government and citizenry. This is all after a 10+ year pattern of terrible attrocities, conquest, and horrifying POW treatment. While the film can certainly not speak for every man, woman, and child that lived in Japan, its implication that /all/ citizens work so hard and hate Americans so much is hyperbole, not racism. Many object to the choice of narrator. Remember that cinema at this early point didn't care so much for accurate casting. It wasn't uncommon for Italians to play Arabs and put on similarly cheesey accents. The context and message make it clear that this is a scripted event. The choice was considered "close enough" at the time, and demonstrates historical trends, not racial bigotry. The film also makes no presumption or statement upon the attitudes, feelings, or actions of those of Japanese descent living in America.
That said, I thought this was an interesting film. Some points were obviously exagerated for influence, and I wonder how they must have seemed to a contemporary viewer. There are a few disturbing frames, such as execution shots and decapitated heads. The line about Japanese waiting for hours in line to buy war bonds came off as a bit heavy handed.
Finally, I must address the review that stated that though the Japanese government commanded cruelty and genocide, the true crime is for us to submit to a hasty generalization of the Japanese. I'm forced to disagree; the true crime is genocide. I hope this was fecetious.
Subject: Very Interesting
This has got to be the best comments board I've seen here on Prelinger.
It's good to read some of these comments below and be reminded of why Dubya got back into office. The fact that these eggheads still exist just stuns me. Out there in the nowhere lands of the red states, where humans can't congregate in numbers large enough to form a genuine understanding of world events, these backwoods sentiments still rule... thanks for the reminder.
Subject: So much to be learnt from the past...
This was a very disturbing film and it clearly points out the dreadful nature of propaganda. At best it (other movies of its ilk) should serve as a sure wake-up call to not only Post 9/11 Americans but to everyone in the world.
As a South African, Im well aware of race-based propaganda as its insidious use under Apartheid South Africa was frequent and used to great effect against black South Africans, and to entrench stereotypes amongst the various ethnic groups.
garlic frog -
Subject: it works
where can i buy some of those war bonds, folks?..
Propaganda can only be regarded as such.
Subject: All you need to know about the Japanese (aka the enemy)
How many fingers do pseudo-japanese men have?
Hey isnt that the bridge that Monet painted, how they moved it from France to Japan I'd like to know.
The very mountains of the earth itself command all Japanese to rule. I wonder why they havent yet
Rebo Valence -
It's strange - you'd expect from the introduction, with the obvious caucasian man made up to look Japanese, that this will be an utter rascist crapfest, along the lines of "Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips". But his first lines are to laugh at the prominent American stereotype of the time depicting the Japanese as buck-toothed, glasses sporting sub-humans. What we get instead is a look at people who are quite human - and an enemy that was more than willing to throw away their lives in the belief of divinity of their imperial government. Instead, this film attempts to gear the populace up for the reality of a Japanese land invasion. The only staged piece of film is the introduction - the rest is actual footage from WWII, being narrated with a rather bad Japanese accent. Much of what you see here is actually true, sadly. The atrocities in Japanese POW camps are well documented. The extreme, terrifying loyalty they felt to their government as it moved forward in it's conquest is also sadly true (just ask the Chinese or the Koreans). As this was filmed before the infamous Hiroshima and Nagasaki incidents, the reality at the time that many Americans faced was a bloody war on the Japanese mainland. The narrator rightfully points out that the soldiers could hide anywhere and attack at any time - as soldiers making landfall on occupied territories in the Pacific learned.
The only part that made me laugh from cheesiness was the perky fanfare playing encouraging you to buy war bonds after the film has been scaring you to death.
People watching this with closed eyes, or even using it as an excuse for their own prejudices are sadly ignorant of the truths this film portrays of some of the most uncertain hours of WWII. While we are now allies with Japan, back then they were a feared enemy. Pick up a history book and you'll find the same sentiments echoed, only without the goofy narration to convince today's viewers that it was an exaggerated propaganda piece. Imperial Japan was a fearsome force during WWII, and today even the Japanese have openly denounced their government at the time (though sadly they have yet to apologize for their actions in Asia.)
The film tells you "This is what ALL Japanese think." An exaggeration, yes. But so iron-handed was their Imperial government that it didn't matter what it's people thought - even their own religion was part of the state. To them, it wasn't the emperor, but the kami making the decrees (part of the reason why so many Japanese are now atheists).
Yes, the US has comitted atrocities in wars. That does not mean other countries get a free pass in history because they give us anime and pocky. The world must examined with realistic eyes - both the positives and the darkest parts of history.
Subject: Not as racist as advertised
Sure, the narrator is a (not very well) made-up caucasian man speaking with an affected accent, but I find it considerably less offensive, than, say, Mickey Rooney's portrayal of the Japanese landlord in Breakfast at Tiffany's, which is actually more what I expected out of this film at first. It actually does debunk the sillier, outdated notions of Japan, that no doubt still existed in many people's minds and show the militaristic mindset that did by an large exist in imperial Japanese government.
This film was clearly intended to drum up confidence for what was then thought to be an almost certain bloody battle on mainland Japan. There's no hint of the Manhattan Project here, folks. And who knows how bloody and totally destructive such an invasion would have been, on both sides. Thankfully, we never had to find out.
I find it amusing (and a source of consternation) that so many people here find the horrible, realistic war images shown here racist and too violent or whatever, yet they also decry it whenever propaganda films pretty up war into a big patriotic jingoistic happy fun time of glory. And these terrible images may well have played out in the case that the invasion had gone forward. And the film is almost prophetic in its vision of asymmetric and guerilla warfare ("...to dig millions of us out of caves, gullies, buildings, mountains") that played out in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq in the decades that followed.
Folks, just lower the gain on your hypersensitivity meters for a little bit when you watch it. Racist? Sure, it's a war film. Propaganda? You bet -- that's what it was designed to be. But actually more honest than most I've seen, willing to tell its intended audience what could have well happened without the a-bomb.
Karma Hawk -
Subject: the definitive propaganda film
This is an EXTREMELY RACIST, movie that is narated by what is obviouly an american actor pretending to be Japanese, that alone would seem extremely hokey in any other movie, but here we are bombarded by so many images of explosions, people being shot and other war atrocities that it is almost effetive. It is important to note that this film was made simply to anger up Americans, this is not a film explaining anything with rational thought instead it's a film that will leave a dark stain on U.S history. It gets 5 stars, not for camp or cheese or even humor, it gets 5 stars because for what it does it does extremely effective. This is a very hard film to watch but a notable piece of history. so only watch it if you can handle it.
hart noecker -
The thing that makes me feel good about RIGA4ME is knowing that, eventually, everyone has to die.
Subject: must see
good example of how the establishment brainwashes the fearful ignorant masses into commiting atrocities.
DJ Drugless -
Subject: Nobody Wins In War
The USA was not immunme to its share of attrocities in WW2. Since 9-11 America is prone to persecute anyone who thinks or looks different than the "typical" whitebread John Q. Public. This is the kind of attitude that allowed Hitler to come to power. There is no room for ANY kind of "isms" in the twenty first century. If we don't learn from our history, we are doomed to repeat it.
Buy War Bonds
Desert Tumbleweed -
Subject: Oh.....Welcome to Mai Japan....
This film is a must see, it is both brilliant and captures the mindset of the Japanses During World War II.
Subject: Remember the rape of Nanking
When the bomb dropped, it didn't kill enough of those Japs. Remember how they treated our POW's? I thought not. You liberals still have your heads up your ass. As for the Japs they still will not admitt to the rape of Nanking. So go and buy a fucking Toyota and stick it you your ass. If that doesn't do for you, let me know where you live and we can have a one on one.
Subject: Remember the rape of Nanking
When the bomb dropped, it didn't kill enough of those Japs. Remember how they treated our POW's? I thought not. You liberals still have your heads up your ass. As for the Japs they still will not admitt to the rape of Nanking. So go and buy a fucking Toyota and stick it you your ass. If that doesn't do for you, let me know where you live and we can have a one on one.
Subject: please spare us your redneck sentiments
that japanese were american too seem too elude mr "historians for truth". that japanese were interned in concentration camps along the west coast you have no notion of.
also you seem to forget the 522nd field artillery battalion.
you complain about liberal americabashers yet you are the prime cause for such sentiments.
historian? dont make me laugh.
Historian's for the Truth -
Subject: America Hating Libs have made it here, too.....
Fact is the film is dead-on accurate regarding the mindset of Japanese during the war.
Read kokutai no hongi, shimmin no michi or any other militarist Japanese propoganda.
(I agree though, the comments directed towards Americans in this film are indeed quite racist.)
Subject: Turning Japanese
Gotta love the Japanese narrator of this film with his thick accent. This film was cleverly made where we are led to view WWII through the eyes of the Japanese(no pun intended). We see just how powerfull their army really is and how their people are willing to give many more sacrifices and go to much more extremes to win this war. We Americans are left to feel as if whatever we are currently doing to win this war (planting victory gardens, conserving gas, etc..) is not enough. That is percisely the point of the film and we see a war bonds announcement at the end encouraging Americans to donate even more. It should be noted that this film is extremely graphic in parts and dismembered bodies are pointedly shown. Toward the end of the film our Japanese narrator announces "By all means come visit Japan, if you dare, after all it is beautifull here. As beautifull as the sight of your blood on our bayonets!".
This film works, too well. It really gives faith in the japanese war machine, so much so that I laughed out loud when I saw the war bonds ad at the end.
Subject: cold-blooded hindsight
If you watch this film and are cognizant of its appeal to pathos through occasional illogic, then cheers to you. however, there is a definite danger in imposing our modern sensibilities upon such material. The Japanese leadership at the time was capable of cruelty and genocide, but the true crime is for us to believe the hasty generalization that "all them sandal wearin' goldfish tenders" were (or are)the same. (please read the above quote with an affected bucolic accent...insert 'dueling banjos' in the background if desired)
Subject: Review of the Reviews
It is amazing how many of these reviews slam the people of WWII America without having a clue. They paint with the same broad brush the film employs, have the same "I'm better than them" attitude, and cry about the filimmaker's failure to consider the cultural differences while expecting the filmmakers to think with 21st century mind. Oh, the words and subjects may change but the intollerance never does.
Now for a little history lesson.
For 20 years the people of America had been watching the "Japs" ("Japs" is to "Japaneese" what "Nazi" is to "German.") rape and pillage their way across Asia. Then while still at "peace" with the US they wipped out our entire Pacific Fleet leaving the West Coast undefended.
These people were scared. Were their little girls to be next to raped with a "Jap" bayonnette? Were their sons and brothers to be executed? Their Grandparents used for target practice? It had happened all across Asia and now they were headed to the US. Those people were scared beyond anything you can even imagine. Don't believe me? See: http://www.tribo.org/nanking/ and remember the Japaneese people have NEVER even though about apologizing for anything their troops did.
If you can get beyond the PC "America is evil" point of view for just a few minutes. Look at the film again through their eyes.
My point is not that this film is right, clearly there are many flaws and outright errors in the facts, fears and conclusions. My point is that unless welearn something about our own flaws, the film has taught us nothing.
B.T.W. One of my best friends growing up was half Japaneese. I have the greatest respect for good people regardless of their nationality and no respect for anyone who thinks they are better or more deserving than anyone else.
Subject: must see
So much has been written about this film already, that just the reactions that have expressed on this site are a testiment to the importance of viewing this. To add my two cents... I think it's important to remember that there were many Japanese-Americans living in the US while these films were being shown... many families who had been citizens for generations... many had never even been to Japan and could not speak Japanese. I wonder what they thought about this film? Oh, that's right... they wouldn't have seen it because they were locked behind barbed-wire in interment camps at the time.
Subject: Love Japan They love you!!
This is typical for propaganda film. I have seen Japanese WW2 propaganda films, that are anti- American, and they are similar to the American anti-Japanese films. They point out the same negative defects of the other group just the same. One of the Japanese one I have seen were similar to this. But they had a fat, bald, lazy looking American man as an anamation. It was just as humor as this fake Japanese man (Did I say Japanese, I mean white).
I love anything with pshyclogical mind control. It is the same now as it was then. I mean it is humorous to see people 60 years later on this site were convinced by this film. Like I have always said experence and education is the key.
Just remember next time you put the Japanese down, you might as well pitch your Car and throw your TV out the window. Most modern day American companies use Japanese techonlogy. Look at cars. Your Ford Focus is modeled in mind with the ever so popular Japanese lines. Compact, using as little as possible to get the most horsepower.
I have a lot of respect for these people. I spent a whole year with one living in my house. She was not only cute, innocent and cartoon loving girl. But she was one of the most intelligent and hard working persons I have ever met. I think she was a great influence on me. I never noticed how lazy I was till I lived with a Japanese girl.
Subject: Those Crazy Japs
Everyone needs to keep in mind the historical context of this film. At Pearl Harbor, the Japanese attacked the US in a huge gamble that they ultimately lost. This film was made while we were fighting those unprovoked agressors for the express purpose of selling war bonds...of course its going to be racist and inaccurate! Particularly amusing is the message at the end: "Remember: this it what ALL the Japanese think." Right. And what was up with that burning devil thing? Anyway, after the A bombs were dropped, (which could have probably been avoided but nevertheless beats the hell out of a land invasion in terms of casualties on both sides)Japan, with US help, mended its ways to become one of the most successful countries of the modern era. Any country that goes from a virtual state of feudalism to produce Toyotas, Nintindo, Sony, and packaged sushi in just 200 years is okay by me. Sure, your economy is the recession right now, but apart from that, you guys rock. Japan, I salute you!
OK, I know there's a warning about the violence and racism, but in case you're in doubt, there are dead bodies, decapitated heads, AND a pair of men being executed onscreen. And then there's the laughably fake Japanese narrator...
Having said that, this is one of the most amazing examples of propaganda I've ever seen, and must have had people crapping their pants in 1945.
Equally amazing are the reactions in this forum. It's so easy to watch these films and think that people must have been incredibly unsophisticated to take them seriously. And here we are in 2004 with people supporting an American propaganda film about Japanese propaganda films as an accurate depiction of the Japanese? Huh?
It just shows how susceptible we ALL are to manipulation. Yes, it's more subtle now, but in 50 or 60 years, it'll be just as laughable.
See you in hell...
Subject: This is heartbreaking...
..and by that i don't just mean the film. Through all my browsing through deluded, manipulative propaganda in the Prelinger archive, I have always been encouraged both by the rationalism and intelligence of reviewers. People willing to look at the grotesqueries on all sides of our human history. But here... this was deeply, bitterly painful to me. Here I find my contemporaries spouting narrow-minded, unfeeling jingoism, and propogating terrible distortions of the truth to a degree far worse than even the most rancid of WW2 propaganda films.
I find it depressing; I thought we had learnt from the errors of our history's darkest age. But it seems not.
Prince Woody -
Subject: YES Mr Bigshot
"America are THE most powerful country in the world and that is the bottom line. " if this be true why did you ask for our help in iraq? the search for sadam was a world wide terrorist thing that we should all have been aware of, but the british should have takena leaf from ur book and let u do all the hard work before we stepped in. and i just had to laugh at the situation when they found sadam "hes lucky he popped his head up i was just about to throw a granade in" funniest thing i had herd in ages. you see a hole, ypu throw a granade in it, kill everyone inside, cause all the earth ontop to cave in possibly consuming half ur team mates in the proces knoking over a few trees that smash ur face in. but hey thats the typical american way, not throw ina smoke granade and flush them out, oh no, that just wouldnt be feasable now would it. ive been in battle ( none of the big ones tho) and i know its hard to tell the difference from demonstrators and john simpsons interpretor
so i wont mention anythign about america killing BBC employees.
And as for the "we crushed" them, u crushed them using einsteins technology, and to clear up, you werent the first to start producing it, a russian theorist called azahr started work on the first a bomb but it was a 24k bomb and america used a 4k bomb, which left russia witha 24k bomb to dispose of. they dropped it in the south pacific and it exploded with enough force to destroy most of scotland and leave radiation in britan. the aircraft barely survived the test.
if america is "THE most powerful country in the world and that is the bottom line." why didnt u just send the nation to storm japan and take it on foot surely the most powerfull army in the world could do something like that.
we were being bombarded with shells the size of minis by sie germans, it was us on the front line, sure u sent backup but it wasnt ur country being stomped.you had it easy in world war 2 in my opinion and that my fired has made you weak, you think your amazing but really ur just pathetic weak minded obese semi human beings !!!
its people like you that make me sick you think youve done all the hard work when you did jack, its liek when u play games online liek CS for example you see a guy and are involved ina massive gun fight with him, and you both run out of ammo, and ur frantically trying to stab each other with ur knives, you say to ur team " sweet one more stab and heas dead" and some punk jumps round the corner and blows him away witha shotgun. GUTTED all that hard work and he gets the glory. not even a "fair play to you tom, you did well" or anything, its "sweet im the best i kick all ur asses" complete and utter son of a mother of a daughter of a unvcle of a mother of a son of a beech.
"Well, I say no GOOK comes even close to the strongest or even the weakest American for that matter" yeah the strongest american must be able to lift at least 20 burgers in one sitting i rekon.
PHWOOR can u feel the power?
i must apologise for my poor spelling and grammar.
"America are THE most powerful country in the world and that is the bottom line. "
who told you that ??
->kid lewis<- -
Subject: How Naiive
Well well well, yet another american forcing his over patriotic view on the world. why is it that you don't just let WWII go?
Your like the super sub who comes on scores a goal and thinks he's the shiznay!!!!
Firstly get a grip on reality, you might be the strongest nation in the world but that gives you the greatest weakness. 11:09:01 ring any bells? please!
Secondly yes you did destroy japan but that nabled them to retart their economy and now their share in the worlds market is now even bigger than if you didn't drop the two atom bombs on then, (well done but that was Einstein's invention who isn't american you'll be "surprised" to know).
And finally if your army is soooooo immense, could you do me a favour and tell them to shoot properly and at the right people.... JACKASS!!!
->kid lewis<- English!!! ;)
Englishman in Philadelphia -
I don't think it matters about the content of the film. What is more disturbing is the reaction from ICE007. What a cock. I severely doubt America's weakest would be able to kick ass!! Come out of your own country and say that.
Subject: The bottom line is.....
America crushed Japan, plain and simple. We destroyed their country and they were at our complete mercy.
If the makers of this film could see the aftermath of what America did to Japan...I don't think they would have made such a silly attempt to scare us.
If they were to see the aftermath of our what our hardware did to their country. They would have made a film, saying we surrender, we don't want any problems with such a powerful country such as America.
Let us live and please don't drop the bomb on us. They would be begging for mercy, not talking high and mighty like the narrator of this film.
We are THE most powerful country in the world and that is the bottom line. We don't need to do such movies. Because, the whole world knows that America is unbeatable in a war like WW2.
Being they called us this and that...Well, I say no GOOK comes even close to the strongest or even the weakest American for that matter. Sure, they are hard workers. That is because, America gave them something to work for. Otherwise, they would de destitute.
this is like somthing out of the "two minutes hate" in 1984, i wonder which us film company made that "authentic propaganda film"
Garret G. -
Subject: Politically correct film, for its time
For those who believe that this film is politically incorrect, they need to look deeper. This film was created in a time when we were at war. This is not a ghastly portrayal of the Japanese. I have seen much worse. For those who don't know anything about history, particularly WWII in general, they need to realize that nearly sixty years ago, this is what Japan did, no question about it. Again, those who know nothing about history have no reason to write a review for this film.
Subject: Plz... what crappy propagnda
It's foolish to think that combatants in WW2 wouldn't commit acrocities. almost every nation in WW2 was responsible about at least somekind of crime:
-Nukes to nagasaki & Hiroshima
-Japanese mass violence in Nankig
-Russian Attack to Finland & mass violence in Berlin
This is just some examples of what happened in WW2.
so not only japanese were "bad"
Mr Oni -
Subject: Who cares if it's racist?
What's that got to do with anything. Our forefathers fought hard to win a war they didn't start against an enemy just as bad or even worse than the Nazis. I recommend anyone who thinks the japs were not on the same level read a book called The Rape of Nanking by Iris chang. As for the Atom bombs if they saved One americans life so he could go back home and be with his family rather than die in a war he didn't start then I say drop 100 more.
Subject: Turning Japanese.. Turning Japanese.. I really think so..
Pretty hilarious, ghastly, violent, racist, and historically inaccurate stuff. I'm sure, after reading the reviews, seeing the movie scenes and reading the sympnosis that you're not really going to get the most balanced coverage. I mean from scene one we see the unconvincing makeup job and the most hilarious try on a Japanese accent I have ever heard. I mean, if I can't get past that, how am I supposed to believe this film? A MUST SEE on this site!
Subject: Not Racist?
Whoever thinks this film is "not at all racist" is either a fool or a racist himself. Most of the footage is taken out of context. The theory that an entire race of people spontaneously decided to fight to the last man to destroy another race of people is absurd. Perhaps there were fanatical Japanese officials and military personnell, but when you get down to the ground and start talking to the businessmen, farmers, and others who had nothing to do with the war, you'll find that they have a lot in common with any other person that ever was or ever will be.
Maybe Japan did use chemical weapons against China. Maybe Germany used chemical weapons against the Allies in WW1. Maybe Great Britain built concentration camps during the Boer War. Maybe the United States nuked 2 Japanese cities chock full of civilians. If you want to get in an atrocity contest, I think the US is the current recordholder.
Also of interest: A Threat to Democracy
Subject: Psychology 101
It would seem that the propaganda worked on mjdart who wrote the first review. It was designed to demonize the enemy, common in war and necessary to inflame the passion of patriotism to increase enlistment and incite us to kill. It probably was made to prepare us to accept dropping the A-bomb as well as buying war bombs and continue supporting war when the nation was probably very tired. This was Hollywood's version of the Japanese mind-set and certainly can't be used today to justify the mission of the Enola Gay. Most people are Madison Ave-savvy enough to see through transparent propaganda. As an example of how a population can be manipulated when they rely on the media without investigating for themselves, this was excellent.
Subject: A must see........
I've watched countless hours of WWII footage and I've never seen "My Japan". Very strong on its message. They should be showing this film next to the Enola Gay B-29 exhibit for those who protest our use of the atomic bomb to end the war with Japan.
Swattin Skeeters -
Subject: Finally...unbleached history
I agree that we may find that the mindset of the time was not acceptable by today's standards, but during these dark days people were afraid and this was the norm. So much of history today is bleached and inaccurate because it is considered offensive. Offensive or not it's the way it was. This is an excellent representation of the lives our grandparents were dealt by fate and the way that they had to deal with it.
Despite the fact that the narrater is obviously caucasion, and the film is a little on the campy side... the film DOES accurately depict the Japanese mind-set and view of Americans at that time, and to a lesser extent even today. Do you really think that most countries today don't see Americans as fat, lazy, and greedy? I'm sorry that this film is not politically correct enough for today's standards, but IT IS historically correct... watch the History Channel sometime.
The stereotyping in this film is so heavy handed and unrelenting that I'm not sure the term "racist" conveys the actual feeling of the film. It attempts to paint 70 million people with one brushtroke, something which even a moment's reflection would show to be absurd.
I agree with Ken Smith's speculation that at least part of the purpose of this film was to justify the use of nuclear weapons on Japan.
For those of you who believe this film to be an accurate or realistic protrayal of Japanese attitudes about the war, I suggest watching "The Grave of the Fireflies", an animated film created by a Japanese civilian who watched his little sister starve to death in the waning days of World War II.
Subject: My Japan - enough to terrify Frank Capra
I'm not sure what's more terrifying, the fact that the film is such a clear example of propaganda designed to motivate a population to engage bloody war, or the fact that contemporary viewers can see this film as "not racist, and simply telling the truth about Japan." This film is an extraordinary example of the lengths the United States military machine went to, in order to sell war bonds and ideology; and justify the erradication of a 'lesser race.' The film, while purporting to be an insider's guide to the exotic and terrifying East is a composite of documentary footage, edited with clips from old Samurai films and intercut with an American actor speaking with a pseudo Japanese accent inviting the viewer to visit 'his' Japan. This film ultimately proves to do nothing more than re-affirm the heightened wartime paranoid notion that the Japanese were all inscrutable little brown devils hell bent on world domination (unlike the British, Dutch, Spanish and French Imperialists who by the 1940s had actually succeeded in several hundred years of world domination). Brilliant example of propaganda at its most sinister.
Chuck B -
Subject: Super film...clips you usually don't see
I really don't understand why one would classify this as racist. It is a film to inspire americans of the time to buy war bonds. There are no truely negative information about the Japanese. It states positive things about their people and military forces. If you know your history the brutality portrayed in the film is only half of the story. The Japanese used biological and chemical agents against the helpless Chinese in WW2 and tortured prisoners. If you don't know this then you haven't really studied your history. The purpose of the film is to wake up the civilians to help the realize that the enemy is a real one...a force that is not a "cake walk." Take a look and see for yourself. Great clips that I have not seen before. Some of the footage is captured Japanese film.
Subject: Fair ~ generous
If you play My Japan expecting the film to live up to its billing as explicit racism, you will be very disappointed. My Japan is not only fair and balanced, it is quite generous. In a tangible way, My Japan is the antithesis of bigotry. The film takes pains to dispel common Japanese stereotypes of the 1940s.
If anything, My Japan is a watered down version of Japanese WWII propaganda. Its been watered down for the initiated pallet of the 1945 American public. All of the precepts described in My Japan were borrowed straight from Japanese war propaganda. The majority of film footage used was shot by Japanese war propagandists and/or historians.
I urge you to watch My Japan with an open mind. Watch My Japan without superstition, fear, or jealousy. If you can do that, Ken Smiths review below will sound like the ratings of a rabid, unwashed flag burner (although Im sure hes advanced in years enough to be well beyond that phase of his life). If you can watch My Japan and still not see the film as fair and balanced, I urge you to study any Japanese WWII propaganda you can find and study as many Japanese cultural references as you can get your hands on.
Subject: Weird Little Host
A few things to note about the narrator and his non-japaneseish tendencys. Aside from the fact of looking way too fake there's also problems with pronounciations:
Fugi-yama (Mt. Fugi): It should be fu-gi-ya-ma not fu-ga-ma.
Tokyo: Should be To-kyo not To-ki-yo
Osaka: Should be O-sa-ka not Osa-ka
Other then that the pictures of the sevored heads and burning bodies was really disturbing.
Pedro Lobito -
Subject: Brain Washed
There will be always an enemy for USA, first the Indians...then Communist now Arabs...they will nevers top...why ?? because those jews in california and texas think they r the ONES choosen to rule the world..the Roman Empire was big and collapsed, so do u...its just a question os time.
Lewis Payne -
While the "Japanese" host and narrator is amusing in a strange sort of way - especially the opening quips - the incredible racism of this film combined with intense war footage, executions and the like make it all in all extremely disturbing. Anti-japanese sentiment is regularly drummed up not just through the use of "captured" footage of the "savage" Japanese way of life, but by belittling the achievements of US armed forces in the pacific campaign - saying that wins such as Guadalcanal, Saipan and Iwo Jima were pathetic little victories that US soldiers payed dearly for while the Japanese lost only second-rate soldiers. Five stars for sheer horror value.
Subject: History Repeats itself time and time again...
The best thing about viewing these types of films, are that they give you a disturbing wake up call about the new-age propaganda being dished-out by the usA of today. Let's see, I can recall when I was in Elementary School, I used to call Russians: "Commies".. I recall being called a SPIC at an early age before being picked on.. Yup, not much different than all the new Middle Eastern crap I've heard from day one, even out of Dubya's mouth though you know he's been corrected many o' times.
Overall: A must keep for your children and theirs and so on.. I say:" Let's go to war when Bushy is in the front and so are his two daughters, that way I know we are going to fight.. This ain't no phreaki' operation HS [Human Shield]
Also view "Duck and Cover"..
Christine Hennig -
Subject: My Japan
Before World War II, the American stereotype of the Japanese was of polite little people who lived in cheap paper houses and who produced cheap manufactured goods ("Made in Japan" was equivalent to "chincy piece of junk"). The government made this film, consisting of captured Japanese newsreel and propaganda footage, in order to convince the public that Japan was a strong, ruthless, formidable enemy (though you wouldn't think it would take much convincing after Pearl Harbor). Much of the footage is quite disturbing, but the message is tremendously undercut by the "Japanese" narration, done by an obviously white man made up to look Japanese and sporting an outrageously fake Japanese accent. Seriously, it's only a half a step away from the narration of Tokio Jokio. Rotsa ruck, Uncle Sam!
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: *****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****. Also available on Americans in War.